Main research question

As a paleoichthyologist, I focus my research on the link between Evolution and Environment in deep times, and notably the balance between climate and geology and their impact on faunas.

Topics of study

I address questions in evolution: fossils and their interest to solve phylogeny deep nodes ; evolution of complex structures/ key innovations ; prospects in bone paleohistology. The phylogeny and distribution of both extant and fossil fish allow me to propose a history for ancient hydrographical connections.

I describe the ichthyofaunas yielded by various Tertiary sites from Afro-Arabia and the assemblages allow me to characterise aquatic paleoenvironments.

I cross information on the fossil fish ecology with the chemical signals they recorded (δ180) to catch the water cycle at the scale of the basin. I do the same with sclerochronological tools (growth of hard parts) to evaluate seasonal variation intensity. The latter project implies an experimentation developed in collaboration with Géraldine GARCIA.


My study material comes from over 15 countries, and I am particularly involved, including in the field, in two programs lead in the lab: MPFT in Chad, OGRE in Ethiopia.

Project management

  • Coordination du projet NA ASAP et d’un workpackage dans l’ANR HADoC.

Other current responsibilities

  • Directrice du site 86 de l’INSPE
  • Assesseure à la Pédagogie de l’INSPE and Présidente de la Commission Pédagogique de l’INSPE
  • Coordination du master MEEF SVT de l’Université de Poitiers
  • Vice-Présidente du Jury du CAPES externe SVT
  • Rédactrice en chef de SFI-Cybium
  • Membre du CA de la SFI-Cybium
  • Membre correspondant de la 4e section de l’Académie des sciences d’outre-mer (ASOM) le 01/10/2021.

Fond out more


Iconic publications

OTERO O. 2018 – Fish from the Baynunah Formation (Late Miocene, Abu Dhabi Emirate). Sands of Time: Late Miocene Fossils from the Baynunah Formation (A.U.E.), Bibi F., Kraatz B., Beech M., Hill A. (eds), Spinger, Cham, Switzerland.

OTERO O. (ed.) 2018 – Ichthyology and Bone Histology. Cybium, 2018, 42 (1), 116pp.

Lévêque C., Paugy D., OTERO O. (eds) 2017 – The inland waters fishes of Africa: diversity, ecology and human-use. IRD-MRAC edition.

OTERO O., Garcia G., Valentin X., Lihoreau F., Kyalo Manthi F., Ducrocq S. 2017– A glimpse at the ectotherms of the earliest fauna from the East African Rift (Lokone, late Oligocene of Kenya). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. e1312691.

Davesne D., Gallut C., Barriel V., Lecointre G., Janvier P. OTERO O. 2016 – The Phylogenetic Intrarelationships of Spiny-Rayed Fishes (Acanthomorpha, Teleostei, Actinopterygii): Fossil Taxa Increase the Congruence of Morphology with Molecular Data. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2016, 4, 129, 20pp. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00129.

Mayrinck de D., Brito P.M., OTERO O. 2015 – Review of the osteology of the fossil fish formerly attributed to the genus †Chanoides, systematic and implications for the definition of otophysan bony characters. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 13:5, 397–420.

OTERO O., Pinton A., Cappetta H., Adnet S., Salem M., Valentin X., Jeager J.J. 2015 – A fish assemblage from the Middle Eocene from Libya (Dur At-Talah) and the earliest record of modern African fish genera. PLoS ONE, 10(12): e0144358.

Pinton A., Agnèse J.F., Paugy D., OTERO O. 2013 – A large-scale phylogeny of Synodontis (Mochokidae, Siluriformes) reveals the influence of geological events on continental diversity during the Cenozoic. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 66 (2013): 1027–1040.

OTERO O. 2011 – Current knowledge and new assumptions on the evolutionary history of the African lungfish, Protopterus, based on a review of its fossil record. Fish & Fisheries, 2011(12): 235–255.

OTERO O., Lécuyer C., Fourel F., Martineau F., Mackaye H.T., Vignaud P., Brunet M. 2011 – Freshwater fish δ18O indicates a Messinian change of the precipitation regime in Central Africa. Geology, 39(5): 435–438.



Tél. : +33 (0)5 49 45 37 53

Guylaine REYNAUD

Tél. : +33 (0)5 49 45 37 26

Fax : +33.(0)5 49 45 40 17


Université de Poitiers – UFR SFA


Bât B35 – TSA 51106

6 rue Michel Brunet

86073 POITIERS Cedex 9